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Sony VX2100 / PD170 / PDX10 Companion
Topics also include Sony's TRV950, VX2000, PD150 & DSR250 family.


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Old April 11th, 2002, 04:01 PM   #1
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PAL camera question

A friend tells me that the PAL edition of the VX-2000 actually offers higher quality, and we can firewire that video back and forth between the PAL camera and NTSC cameras and it'll look fine no matter which system it is being shown in eventually. Is this true??

We'd love to get a PAL VX-2000, pump the video into our G4 for FCP editing and then export it to an NTSC deck. Would this work???

And can we send NTSC-recorded miniDV tapes to friends in Europe who have PAL only Sony miniDV systems and can they they view our tapes in their PAL-only cameras?

Can they also export them to their PAL only TV sets for family viewing?!?!

Many thanks, all-knowing one, for your kind reply
Scott Shuster
WorldDance New York
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Old April 11th, 2002, 11:11 PM   #2
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Scott the big answer is this will not work.

1. You can't transfer from PAL to NTSC, the signals are not compatable.

2. You can capture PAL into FCP and then export it out to NTSC but the quality isn't that good.

3. If you send NTSC tapes to your friends with PAL cameras they won't be able to play them.

4. The acertainable difference between PAL and NTSC on anything other than a professional reference monitor is not really noticeable.

In Europe, most VHS video machines will play NTSC videos on a PAL TV. Your best bet is send them an NTSC VHS tape and they should be able to play that.
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Old April 12th, 2002, 09:26 PM   #3
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Dear Adrian,
Thanks for your reply. OK: I have more information to share on this, specifically an anecdotal report that contradicts at least part of your reply:

In my family's personal experience a TRV-9, NTSC-edition's miniDV cassette full of home video was taken to the UK, where another family member was able to view that cassette in their PAL TRV-something (20?)'s , LCD monitor. They also exported it through RCA cables to their television set for family viewing and the picture was perfect.

Now here's the rub: that TV set in the UK *may* be a dual system TV, so it's hard to be definitive about that part -- I'll find out for sure and post again about that aspect.

But what about the fact that their PAL-edition camera could view our NTSC-edition camera's video on the LCD? Doesn't that contradict your response number 3? I'm thinking that maybe the "digital" video that these "digital" cameras lay down on a miniDV cassette (or pick-up from a miniDV cassette) is all the same, and it only becomes "NTSC" or "PAL" when it is being pumped out of the camera. Could it be that a PAL camera pumps out PAL (which had better go to a PAL TV or you won't be able to view it) and could it be that an NTSC camera pumps out NTSC, which likewise had better go to an NTSC TV, or you won't be able to view it...? Now I'm not saying that's so, I'm just suggesting, asking if maybe that is the way it works. So this is just a guess -- maybe even just a hope. Does anyone have hard knowledge about this, from experience? Central question: How can we explain the perfect 'in-camera' viewing of an NTSC miniDV cassette in a PAL miniDV camera?

Scott Shuster
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Old April 13th, 2002, 04:28 AM   #4
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Scott it's definately a strange situation, and one I'll look into. It is quite possible that when stored digitally there is know difference, Quicktime dosent care what format, PAL or NTSC the video is in.

The differences between PAL and NTSC are,

1.Frame Rate - PAL records at 25 frames per second, NTSC at 29.97

2.Resolution - PAL is 625 lines, NTSC is 525. (This is the reason for the perceved quality difference)

3.The Chroma Phase(basically the colours) is different

As soon as John Locke gets here to Tokyo we'll do a test and see if his NTSC XL1 plays my PAL tapes and visa versa.
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Old April 13th, 2002, 02:57 PM   #5
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The NTSC video frame consists of a 525-line frame, a field rate of 59.94 Hz, and an interlace-ratio of 1:2. A fraction (~8%) of the available bandwidth is used for signal synchronization between the transmitter and the receiver giving an effective resolution of 640x480 (4:3 aspect ratio). The NTSC standard is used primarily in North America and Japan.

The PAL video frame consists of a 625-line frame, a field rate of 50 Hz, and an interlace-ratio of 1:2. As with NTSC, 8% of the available bandwidth is used for synchronization yielding an effective resolution of 768x576 (4:3 aspect ratio).The PAL standard and it's variants are used primarily in Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, Brazil,
and Argentina.

In digital filmmaking 768x576 vs 640x480 makes a big difference in acquisition. Considering that Neither Final Cut nor your Firewire Mac care about either format and input/output to/from both.

Further, if you deinterlace NTSC, perform CG operations and then try to resample it temporally to 24 frames, you run into rather complicated motion problems. PAL being 25 frames/sec that is never a problem. (Of course with the new 24p Panasonics the situation just got better).

Conversion from PAL to NTSC looks better than the other way around too.

Shooting PAL DV has many advantages, including 20% more resolution than NTSC and a frame rate that closely matches film.

http://www.dvfilm.com/atlantis/index.htm

Incidentally, Apple has just made conversion a breeze in Final Cut Pro.

http://www.apple.com/cinematools/hd.html

Now if you were to look for the biggest bang for your buck, which Camera would you choose. NTSC or PAL?

Sincerely (from Scott's pal),
Debdoot
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Old April 17th, 2002, 02:14 AM   #6
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The PAL PD150 (and similar cameras) will playback - but NOT convert - NTSC DV tapes. In other words you can see, but not record the signal. FWIW.
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Old April 17th, 2002, 02:27 AM   #7
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I'm pretty sure that the reverse is not possible, PAL playback in NTSC cameras.
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Old April 17th, 2002, 01:30 PM   #8
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Hmmm. So you are saying that a PAL miniDV camera will playback the cassette recorded in an NTSC miniDV camera, but if you try to take the signal out of that camera -- say with a pair of RCA cables -- and record the signal in a (say) PAL VHS recorder that will not work.

And you are also saying that you are "pretty sure" that an NTSC miniDV camera will not even play a cassette recorded in a PAL miniDV camera.

Interesting! I guess I'm still waiting to hear from someone who has both machines in hand and can actually TRY both the playback and the export of the signals and really truly SEE WHAT HAPPENS!

Scott
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Old April 17th, 2002, 03:05 PM   #9
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I have the PAL PD150 and can tell that (a) although you can _see_ NTSC tape playback on the monitor (b) you 100% CANNOT record the signal on any PAL recorder, either via FW or analogue (composite) out. I know - I tried.

There is a menu choice on the camera under VCR set called "NTSC playback". There will be no equivalent "PAL playback" on your NTSC PD150. Why? Something to do with global dominance! Same reason why nearly all modern European VHS machines can replay tapes from the US but not vice versa...

So whilst it would be nice, the idea that these cameras can convert from PAL to NTSC and back is an illusion. Sorry!
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